Recently I took The Stone back to France. I decided that it ought to be in its natural surroundings after having travelled in Europe for some years. I was building terraces in a garden with similar stones last week in France. Before, I imagined that instead of standing in a living room in Den Haag The Stone is better off in a natural function, centrally in a useful construction. So here it is now, overlooking a village and a river, opposite a castle which is strategically placed on a wall next to the river. Underneath you will find a brief history of the stone.
Once there was a stone. It was quietly enjoying the place where it was, in a garden in Vaucluse in France. The owners of the garden also have a garden in Den Haag and, overcome by their imagination they thought it might be a good idea to take the stone to Holland together with some other stones. They gave them a place in their Dutch garden, to put some Provençal colour into their Dutch Eden.
As it happens, the artist’s studio of one of the owners looks out on the garden. Thinking about content for his Malieveld Project his eyes were caught by the sculptural qualities of the stone. So, he took it to the Malieveld and executed a short performance with it:
In september the female artist of EX-MÊKH was invited for the ‘FeMaler‘ exibition in Berlin. The two remaining male members of EX-MÊKH were invited as antagonists. The owner of the stone, collaborating in EX-MÊKH, decided to dedicate his contribution to the muse. He would make an installation which he opened with a performance using the stone again: He lay beside it and tapped on it to hear the voices of troubadours that it must have experienced, lying along the roads where these poets traveled from castle to castle in the middle ages. After hearing them sing he set up pedestals on which he put paintings of his muses.
After the opening of the exhibition The Stone stayed in Berlin all winter, in the studio of Marian Wijnvoord, a friend of ours and also a member of KRAATZ, an interesting international artists’ collective we work with sometimes.
In the end of June 2021 KRAATZ invited EX-MÊKH to participate in the exhibition ‘Les Idiolithes’ in EP7 in Paris. It’s building has a facade with sixteen video-screens facing the Avenue de France. We were invited to show video on this wall for two weeks, alternating with KRAATZ and Sabine Bürger who was also invited. Surprisingly, KRAATZ had taken The Stone as an inspiration for their video:
In the opening weekend there was an opportunity to do performances, of which a ritual returning of The Stone from KRAATZ to EX-MÊKH was already planned. This returning of The Stone was planned the second night and I proposed to do ‘The Weight’ again with the idea that The Stone had gained a soul, traveling from France to Den Haag, to Berlin, to Paris and back to Den Haag. All the more because it got more meaning each time and it would be a real responsibility to take care of it and maybe use it again. Thus it happened: the first evening two performances including the stone had been planned:
The second night the ritual returning of The Stone to EX-MÊKH was performed:
.EX-MÊKH also performed separately. Kees Koomen did another performance with The Stone under the title Sentiers d’été, rolling it around in a circle and making works on paper about his hikes in Vaucluse where The Stone originated from.
After this weekend, The Stone was taken back to Den Haag where it was kept on a little table in the living room for one and a half year.
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